Gorbachev's Gamble

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2019-01-29
  • Publisher: Polity Pr
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What is included with this book?


The sudden ending of the Cold War, surely the dominant feature of the second half of the 20th century, continues to be one of the most unexpected and perplexing events of our time. Explanations provided by the winners and losers in the Cold War differ considerably and often contradict each other. Even taken together they do not provide a compelling answer to the key question: why did it happen? Gorbachev's Gamble offers a new and more convincing answer to this question by providing the missing link between the internal and external aspects of Gorbachev's perestroika. Andrei Grachev shows that the radically transformed Soviet foreign policy during the Gorbachev years was an integral part of an ambitious project of internal democratic reform and of the historic opening of Soviet society to the outside world. Grachev explains the motives and the intentions of the initiators of this project and describes their hopes and their illusions. He recounts the story of the internal debates and struggles in the Kremlin and behind-the-scene decisions that led to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and eventually the demise of the Soviet Union itself. The book is based on exclusive interviews with the leaders of the Soviet Union including Gorbachev, personal notes and diaries of their assistants and advisers and transcripts of the discussions inside the Politburo and Secretariat of the Central Committee. Together they constitute a multi-voice political confession of a whole generation of decision-makers and opinion leaders of the Soviet Union that enables us better to understand the origin and the breathtaking trajectory of the events that led to the end of the Cold War and the unprecedented transformation of world politics in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Author Biography

Andrei Grachev was former political adviser and last official spokesman of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Table of Contents

The Gorbachev Years: A Chronology vii

Preface and Acknowledgements xi

Introduction 1

1 Preparing the Change 9

Dual-Track Diplomacy 9

The Military-Diplomatic Complex 17

‘Moles’ in the Corridors of Power 24

Cracks in the Monolith 34

2 Ambitions and Illusions of the ‘New Political Thinking’ 43

Training for Leadership 43

First Exercises in Foreign Policy 52

Building the New Team 58

Summits in Paris and Geneva 62

A ‘Tail’ of Soviet Diplomacy? 66

‘New Thinking’ or Ideology Revisited? 70

From Philosophy to Politics 75

Reykjavik – ‘the Failed Summit’? 80

‘New Political Thinking’: Rules and Tools 86

3 Breaking the Ice 93

Untying the Reykjavik ‘Package’ 93

Withdrawing from Afghanistan and Retiring from the ‘Third World’ 100

‘Abandoning’ Eastern Europe 114

Destroying the Berlin Wall 131

4 Up to the Peak and Down the Slope 163

Gorbachev’s ‘Anti-Fulton’ Speech at the UN 163

1989 – the Year of ‘the Great Turn’ 169

Malta – a Belated Triumph 176

On the Other Bank of the Rubicon 184

The War in the Gulf and Shevardnadze’s

Resignation 191

The G7 in London: The Summit of a Last (Lost) Chance 200

5 The Winds of Change 214

Notes 234

Bibliography 257

Index 261

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